Jim Goforth is a break-out author, like myself, who had his first novel published this year. It really is a cracking read and really worth checking out, but in the meantime, I thought it might be good to find out a bit more about the man behind the writing.
(thanks must go out to Catt Dahman, as always, for providing the insightful and thought-provoking questions....)
Books/SS: Plebs, Lycanthroship (collaboration with six other authors, out soon). Also involved in a vampire collaboration with six others which should be out before the end of the year I believe. I also have a couple of other completed,but as yet unpublished, full length novels In The Darkest Hour and Spirit Storm, a load of short stories, and about five or six incomplete novels. At the moment I am working on my first foray into the world of zombies.
Links to author pages and websites and Amazon page:
Amazon and Goodreads pages will be up once Plebs has an ISBN number to add to their database
What genre(s) do you write in and why? Horror. I love horror, it’s been my chief writing passion for a long long time. I used to write all kinds of things but the horror genre was the one which ultimately won out. I love dark twisted things, I love where people can take horror, and where it can take them.
What is PLEBS about both on the surface and down deep? Plebs, on the surface is about a few idle young men who run into a whole passel of trouble involving dangerous women, old enemies, new enemies and of course the feral freakish Plebs themselves. Beneath that surface there’s a bunch of different underlying themes, friendship, relationships, finding purpose, blurring of lines between man and monster, the fact that some monsters just can’t be anything but monsters, while man can make a choice to be either and too often elects to take the monster route. There’s a whole host of things in there.
What inspired this? It was originally intended to be a short story with a far different outcome but the more I wrote the more I loved playing with the characters and building them, giving them new directions, new terrible situations to contend with, and since I just couldn’t let them go at a short story I had to make a full length of it. I’m not even sure what initially inspired the idea but the end result turned out a whole lot differently than anticipated.
Who is the main character? Multiple main characters. A few shiftless young men and a host of mysterious women who certainly have a lot more to them than meets the eye. Corey Somerset is the principal character of the guys but the story is not his alone.
What was difficult about penning this? Finding the time to dedicate to finish it. It was on hiatus for quite a while unfinished while I was involved in the extreme metal scene then I re-read it and fell back into the obsession I had with completing the story.
What is difficult for you as a writer? Too many ideas, not enough time to get them all out and written. Some good, some atrocious but they all have to be put into written word just to see how abysmal or great they may be.
What is the best part about being a writer? There are so many great things about it, couldn’t really nail down one specific one. Getting published and out in print would rank high since that has been a lifelong goal of mine but just the whole idea of creating stories, as horrific or unnerving as they may be is exhilarating. Building a large body of work and being happy with the way it has turned out is always very satisfying.
How did you begin your career? I’ve only recently returned to writing horror after a long hiatus where I was involved writing reviews for the universal metal scenes. I started writing virtually as soon as I could read, I was always the kid in school writing about the monsters, freaky beasts and scary stuff and having them read out to the class. Nothing’s changed, I’m still writing that kind of thing, albeit very frequently with humans displaying the monstrous faces they hide under their skin. With regards to it being a published career that’s only a recent thing though it’s been something I’ve sought to achieve from very early on.
What advice do you have for new writers? Never give up, never become disillusioned. Though I’ve been writing for quite a long time now (most of my life) in terms of being published I guess I myself am a new writer so anybody with advice for me feel free to send it my way ;)
What writer(s) inspire you and why? Richard Laymon is the prime inspiration and influence for me, his writing altered and honed the way I write. There are hordes of others who earlier inspired me to write (which I was doing pretty much as soon as I could read) but Laymon will always be the number one influence.
What book(s) do you wish you have written? None. I am writing the books I want to write.
Do you write for yourself or for readers? A combination of both although I first started writing for me. I write what I like to read which I imagine will also appeal to those who like reading similar things.
Do you ever use dreams/nightmares as a basis for writing? Not to a large extent though I’ve taken bits and pieces from dreams to include in stories.
What is difficult/frustrating about writing or being a writer? Probably a common writer gripe but rejection letters and things like that are always frustrating. There’s nothing I find difficult about being a writer but finding the time I want to dedicate to my writing when I have abundant ideas running around in my head is often a fraction hard to achieve.
What work of yours was enjoyable to pen? Most of them so far. I find enjoyment in all of my writing and what I can do with characters, situations,
What 3 words describe your writing? Violent. Visceral. Thought-provoking (yeah that’s two words which make one ;) )
Which actors/actresses would you love to see in a movie version of your works? Eliza Dushku. Danielle Harris. Katharine Isabelle. Shawnee Smith. (Awesome scream queens, some of them anyway), Billy Wirth, Joseph Gordon Levitt (both multi-skilled underrated actors), Danny Trejo (simply because the cool factor of any movie is amplified to maximum just by the addition of Danny Trejo even in a small role-though for Plebs he probably wouldn’t really fit any of the roles. I’d find a spot for him). Bruce Campbell (same reason as wanting Trejo involved. Bruce Campbell is the king). No interest in most of the traditional Hollywood types.
Do you like to write a series or stand alones? Why? Both. Some books are complete entities as they are, they don’t require sequels or prequels or additions, but sometimes there are characters that you just need to do more with, develop further stories and horrendous scenarios for them hence the desire to do a series.
Who, of your characters do you most want to hang out with? The characters I’d most like to hang with are all in a lengthy story I’ve written on and off over the years since way back in teenage years which will most likely never see the light of day. It involves street gangs, movies, heavy metal and then a nation of supernatural entities. Probably never in any plans to be published.
How did PLEBS get its title? It was originally going to be called something else; for the majority of the time I was writing it there was actually no title for it. Reading back through it prior to finishing it I decided that the term the characters use for the freaks inhabiting the book would be ideal. It’s short, punchy, to the point and suitably creepy.
How do you pick names for characters and which ones are you fond of? Mostly just off the top of my head. I’m fond of a lot of them. I give characters I don’t like too much the rubbish names ;)
Have you ever written real people into books? No. I generally don’t use real people as a basis for characters though they may serve as some kind of inspiration for some facets of these characters.
Do you outline and plan or wing a book? I almost always wing it. I might have some kind of plan in my head at the beginning of the book, or at least a few seeds of ideas but it rarely follows any strict path. I like to let my characters just run their own destinies, see what sort of mayhem they can create for themselves.
Which of your works ended differently than you anticipated? Pretty much all of them. Even if I have some preconceived idea about how things are going to end, it rarely pans out like that.
Do your covers matter? To an extent yes. Cover art often swayed me into being interested in reading a particular book, I’d imagine it still does influence people’s decisions whether to read a book or pass it up.
Does art/ music influence you? Some particular types of art/artists are inspiring but I’m more predominantly inspired by music (particularly heavy metal of the more extreme genres) and I often incorporate a lot of musical references in stories. I have written several things revolving around musical facets, bands etc. and I have plans for a series of horror stories with musical genres at their core. To me some types of music just go hand in hand with horror.
How do you begin a novel? I just start writing. Either from a rough idea or a more fleshed out concept, maybe just a basic thought but I never meticulously plan it out and most times I might not have any clue what is going to transpire. Novels can also spring from short story ideas, as is the case with Plebs. It was intended to be a short story but instead turned into six hundred odd pages of full length (with plans for a sequel).
Do you get “writer’s block”? Not really. Because I have so many projects on the go at any one time if I get stumped with one or run into some kind of block I switch to another and go back and forth between them all. Ultimately finishing one will inspire me to go back and complete the one I might have become disillusioned with.
Will you be prolific/ are you? Yes I intend to be extremely prolific. I already have a decent body of as yet unpublished material.
What is your goal? To have a plethora of books published. As many as I can write. It’s been a long term goal of mine, even as a teenager to have a large body of horror novels published. I’m not exactly writing for awards, probably don’t really write the type of material that is likely to ever attract awards but hey if that happened, awesome.
Do bad reviews bother you? Not particularly. Having been in the reviewing business (for universal metal scenes) I understand that certain things are not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, not everything is going to have an appeal to suit each single person.
Just like extreme metal, horror is for a niche audience, not everybody is going to like it and personally I don’t want, or need everybody to like what I write.
DO you research books? Yes and no. I don’t exhaustively research a book and all that is going to be in it but if there are certain things I want to address that require a little more knowledge than I might have on the subject I’ll do a little research. Others times I don’t when possibly I should have but hey, some horror requires one to suspend a bit of belief or warp reality a little, therefore maybe anything is possible. Having said that I wouldn’t want to delve into a subject I was completely clueless on without at least doing some kind of study up on it.
Which books have been grueling to write? None of them. The answer to the writer’s block question probably covers this one too. If I happen to run into a wall or start struggling with direction, ideas or anything I simply switch to another book and press on with a different one. That might only ever become an issue if I’m presented with deadlines in the future but working under pressure is fine by me.
Plebs comes highly recommended by me and is available RIGHT NOW from Amazon. I even wrote a review for it. Check it out here ~ http://www.amazon.co.uk/Plebs-Jim-Goforth/dp/1495240398